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zompist bboard • View topic - A History of the Future

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:53 pm 
Sanno
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In America, companies are given broadly free reign - in particular, the exploitation of the oil reserves is private. This gives the oligarchs immense political and economic power, which they use to... further their own power. Those who aren't oligarchs are often part of organised labour.

In Europe, however, the reserves are vastly smaller, and aren't wholly private from the beginning. The moneyed classes never get as much money, so don't control the state as strongly. On the other hand, there's not as much in the way of organised labour either, thanks to a weaker manufacturing sector.

Basically, America goes back to something closer to gilded-age capitalism, because there's lots of money to be made. American Dream and all that. Europe doesn't have the opportunity for cut-throat capitalism, so the whole system is rather more post-capitalist and middle-class [which they become proud of!].

---

I suppose you could call it boring. I've not put in any exploding space-elephants, it's true. I think that on a social level, in all three areas described so far there are considerable changes. I don't see "you've just extrapolated present trends" as really a criticism... in any case, the same is largely true of the 20th century. Up until the widespread introduction of computers, the 20th century was more or less what a writer in 1910 might have extrapolated from the fifty years prior. Sure, the details are different, but there was nothing really radically new in that time. [Indeed, the actual predictions made at the turn of the last century were invariably far too radical and futuristic...]

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:07 pm 
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For the most part, I agree. Besides, the really crazy stuff, like exploding space elephants, would be the first to be disproved anyway. I think it was Asimov who said any truly useful prediction of the future would necessarily sound, to us, ridiculous. The future is bound ot be full of not just ludicrous things but also startlingly mundane things as well. I'm sure people from 1910 would be equally amazed at both our ability to get movies streamed to our iphones, and the fact that we still heat our bath water by setting swamp gas on fire.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:24 am 
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(Including a war! Just for Pthug...)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:56 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:29 pm 
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OK, nobody read that one, but here's a slight change of tack:

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 11:30 pm 
Smeric
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Why would people in Catholic Europe take any major amount from Anglicanism? It's just not relevant to any Catholic country but maybe Ireland.

Your characterisation of the religiosity of Muslims in Europe on the one hand and in Turkey and Morocco on the other seems the reverse of what things are like today. Why is this so?

How come Russia annexes Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan but forgets about Transnistria that asks for it?

And do have citations for "one quarter...convicted criminals"?

My own ideas would perhaps involve a comparison between Weimar Germany and modern India, so one possibility would be a return to (an even more democratic) democracy after a failed violent nationalist (and possiby also anti-communist) phase although other results would also be reasonable. Differences of course being that religion would the significant factor, not race, the lack of the inflation issue and the presence of multilingualism. The territories it would potentially lose would probably not be the south. At absolute most Tamil Nadu only. Or territorial losses could be temporary, like Bavarian independence post-WW1. And, as for Chinese religion, China has already changed its policy towards religion, being accepting of particular ones. I see the possibility of Maoism becoming a general part of Chinese religion/philosophy, like Taoism and Confucianism.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:47 pm 
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One thing to consider is that a lot of US Hispanics are increasingly turning away from Catholicism and joining Protestant churches (esp. charismatic ones). I don't have a figure to cite, but I recall reading it in a few places. It's also evident where I live - of the Spanish-speaking congregations in my immediate vicinity, one is Catholic and at least three are Protestant (the Protestant ones are smaller, though). One is Assemblies of God (a Pentecostalist group), another is called the "Iglesia Manantial de Vida" and also looks Pentecostalist, and the third is called "Iglesia Bautista," but I don't know if this means "Baptist" in the English sense, or if it's another Pentecostalist church.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:43 pm 
Sanci
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I actually find most of Sals predictions plausable except the sudden and violent fragmentation of India. I would have expected, I don't know, India being used as a proxy by Canada and the US (maybe Russia and the EU as well) against China (or perhaps the Russians and the EU ally with China instead. Seems less likely, but certainly interesting).


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:04 pm 
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Jesus, I guess the lesson here is to stock up on anti-depressants and canned food. It seems like the 21st century is continuing our recent decline into conservatism. Though I have to agree with the above about Catholicism/Protestantism being pretty useless as a racial category. No doubt there would be racially segregated sects within any sufficiently large religious denomination, but there are loads of White Catholics and Hispanic Protestants.

One thing that just occurred to me while I was reading your latest entry. Maybe there will be more racial stratification between "White" and "Hispanic," since lots of Hispanics are already technically white, and miscegenation is very common. There's bound to be a continuum between WASPS on one end and fresh-off-the-boat Poblano construction workers on the other, and we may need to distinguish more points in between. Maybe there will be a three-way distinction. First, "Whites." This basically means people with English last names. Second, "Hispanics." This means people who are White, or could pass for White, and speak English as (one of) their mother tongue, but have Spanish last names. The third category is "La Raza," and basically consists of anyone who looks Mestizo, speaks with an accent, or has strong emotional ties with the old country. What do you think?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:14 pm 
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Hispanic is already a mixed-ethnicity category; spaniard and quechua/aymara/mapuche/aztec/mayan/carib/guarani/whatever, so "la raza" is already a continuum.

(actually, as a Latin American, I feel the category "latino" or "hispanic" completely exogenous, and I imagine the rest of LatAm feels something similar: it's mostly anglophones that think in terms of 'hispanic' as a race)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:17 am 
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Technically, even anglophones in positions of authority don't consider "Hispanic" a race. On the US census, for instance, it's an ethnicity, compatible with any race.

I would point to black people as an analogy on race. "Black" people are obviously a continuum, to the degree that vast numbers of black people in America are actually white-skinned*, but they aren't considered to form different groups. I suppose it might be different with continuous Hispanic immigration, where the later immigrants may hold different values from the earlier immigrants. But anyway, I only mentioned that demographic point to add colour, so to speak.




*Seriously. I once had a black tutor, but nobody realised he was black until he casually referred to himself as a black man halfway through the term. In terms of skin colour, he was substantially lighter-skinned than a lot of other tutors - the mediterranean guys in particular - but he still identified (and believed he would be identified by other Americans) as black. You can also see this in porn. Black men in porn are usually as black as can be found, probably for subconsciously racist reasons, but a lot of black women in porn are very pale-skinned (which again probably reveals some disturbing psychological facts) - I specify porn in particular as an example because it provides still frames in which the skin of the participants may be displayed side-by-side without their faces in shot, which allows you to ignore their identity as people and look just at the physical colour of them. Oftentimes, black performers can be lighter in skin tone than white ones - to the extent that 'black' is a physical/biological category at all, it seems to have a lot more to do with stereotypical facial structures (and to a lesser extent physique) than skin tone. [Can't test this 100%, because skin tone seems more variable than face shape - that is, there're people with black skin and black faces, and white skin and black faces, and white skin and white faces, but we can't be entirely sure because there aren't many people (except some first-generation mixed-race people) with black skin but white faces, so it's hard to know how people would generally perceive that combination]

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 7:56 pm 
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Salmoneus, I'm concerned that you might be using porn incorrectly :) . That would make a good graduate thesis, though: "The Psycho-Sexual Connotations of The Black Guy In Prudence Does Peoria."

The "one drop rule" that race is a binary scale and you're fully black if you're even a tiny bit African is a particular historical artifact. I wonder if the same general rules would apply to Hispanics. I mean, the economic consequences of being black, even slightly black, were pretty tremendous until very recently, but for a Hispanic who speaks fluent English, I'd guess they are not so severe. Then again, being an immigrant with no legal rights and no command of English would have even bigger economic consequences than being black, at least these days. So it never occurred to me that the same rules would apply to Hispanic-ness that apply to Black-ness. Maybe you're right, though. I'm no expert on race.

A request: What happens to SE Asia? I'm guessing Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia would develop pretty quickly, at least until rising oil prices cut them off from international markets. What happens to Singapore? Does it thrive as an entrepot? Does it align itself with The Triangle, or China, or with the western powers?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:01 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:30 am 
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My theory is that you perceive their skin as black because you extrapolate from their facial structure (and to some degree of course from other sociological data), and that this (rather than some supernatural visual acuity) is why Americans are able to detect 'black' skin where others might not 'notice' the difference.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:13 pm 
Smeric
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Certain ethnicities from the indian subcontinent are dark-skinned with whitish faces, right? and no stater would ever think of them as black, regardless of the amount of melanin in their skins.

While Vin Diesel, for instance, is generally considered black in the states... so yeah, it's mostly about facial features, at least in men.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:54 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:41 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:51 pm 
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vin diesel is dreamy


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:35 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:51 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 3:36 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:57 am 
Sanci
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I have a question for Sal:

Have you, for your future history, given any thought to the return of animal power as a low(er) cost alternative to automobiles for short distances and light utility work?

I am inspired by your work and I might incorporate elements of it in a group project I'm involved with and fully credit I am willing to give you for the research.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:26 am 
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And how is the situation with trains in the late 21th? Has a tunnel under the Bering Strait been constructed?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:06 pm 
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Having read the first two parts:

Oil prices leading to a lot of problems seems realistic, altho this might be a little on the dystopian side.

Fuel cells aren't very well developed yet, but it's hard to predict just how good they will become. Same with wind and solar power; as I've understood it, the effect of a single wind turbine has been rising rapidly the last few decades.

Fusion on the other hand has been worked on for a long time with moderate progress, so we can't count on that for salvation anytime soon.

The only thing I find totally unrealistic is faster-than-light travel. Present physics of course says it will never happen; that might not be true, but in the next century? Very unlikely.

By the way, are you familiar with Hans Rosling? He has some very important insights into the present, which I think can be helpful in predicting the future, too.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:28 am 
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Hans Rosling? I'll give it a look next time I'm at the library, college or community.


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